This is the story of Jean-Marie Coquard from Mesquier, Brittany, a sailor in the merchant navy who became a missionary in Abeokuta, capital of the Egba people of Nigeria. Without formal training he exhibited an extraordinary aptitude for medical work and established one of Nigeria’s premier hospitals in 1894, acting as its surgeon. His reputation spread widely throughout Abeokuta and its hinterland. He obtained his medical supplies, surgery manuals, and surgical instruments from supporters Brittany. During a visit to Europe in 1907 he walked the wards of the celebrated Hotel Dieu hospital in Lyon, bringing back many new surgical techniques and surgical manuals. Coquard’s abrasive character brought him into conflict with his own religious superiors who made every effort to remove him from Abeokuta. He resisted successfully by harnessing the support of the people of Abeokuta and leaders of the colonial government. There were many dramatic episodes in his long career, which spanned the reign of the feared Ogundipe, the notorious Ijemo Massacre of 1914, the Adubi Uprising of 1918 and the loss of Egba Independence. In later life he retreated to his hospital, working from there to assure the future of the magnificent hospital which had replaced the original structure in 1911.
Edmund M. Hogan, Paperback, ISBN 10: 9780812873, ISBN 13: 9789780812874